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It is important that engagement does not stop once the chargers are in the ground. Taking a lifetime approach when planning your infrastructure will allow you to track your project against its goals, intervene if its course has altered and learn lessons for future projects.

Once in use, community engagement can continue, something required for example by the low carbon travel and transport challenge fund (LCTT) programme for a five year period. This encourages greater community input into to running and further development and growth of the infrastructure. Evaluation of the installation and refinement of any integration as well as understanding of how the installation has met the community’s needs and the installer’s aims.

The LCTT funded low carbon cub in Ardrossan, for example, will provide a range of travel information along with training and volunteering opportunities. It will also host events including led rides on the project’s new active travel routes.

Carrying out post-installation evaluation is important for understanding the impact that the infrastructure has had on the local community. This information can then be used to support the case for future infrastructure developments in other areas, eg by developing real world case studies that can be used to educate communities.

After installing public charging infrastructure, you should look to assess how successful your project is based on your original aims. You should also investigate whether any social or economic benefits result from your project. You can then use any lessons learned to shape the design or deployment of future infrastructure projects to maximise their positive social impacts.

Basic evaluation metrics for public charging infrastructure projects could include:

  • The number of charging sessions at different time periods
  • The growth in the number of vehicles accessing the charge points over time

If the charging infrastructure is an addition to an existing transport hub, the infrastructure’s impact on the usage levels of the other sustainable transport modes could also be measured. If, for example, the infrastructure is sited on a bus interchange, bus usage levels could be compared before and after installing the charging infrastructure.